Tag Archives: about feathers

Blue Feathers Are Not Always Blue

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These blue feathers are the iridescent flash from a Melanistic Mutant Pheasant rooster... but other blue feathers are not just blue.

These blue feathers are the iridescent flash from a Melanistic Mutant Pheasant rooster… but other blue feathers are not just blue.

When we started selling natural feathers for arts and crafts, we started to wonder what made blue feathers blue. Right about the time we realized that black feathers were not always black.

Feather color is not always simply color… it is often far more complicated than just a pigment. The color elements of the feathers are serving a purpose – for the bird, or in a grander plan of world conquest through brilliant feather display.

This makes using feathers for jewelry even more exciting, because they come to our art with a history of their own – from the bird.

Blue was a particular question regarding bird feathers, because it isn’t a color that comes to the feather from the bird’s diet. It can often be a refraction, scything off a feather that looks black, but flashes blue in direction sunlight with a certain graceful turn of wing.

But it can also be molecular. Richard Prum, of Yale University, studied cotinga feathers and discovered that the blue color was a result of red and yellow wavelengths of light canceling each other out as they bounced off the internal cellular structure of the feather.

It still looks blue to us, but I think it’s exceptionally cool that feathers are so cool, inside and out.

Visit our site for a huge selection of cruelty-free feathers from our own birds, and from like-minded small scale backyard farmers. Super cool!

Silver Pheasant Feathers For Arts And Crafts

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silver pheasant wing feathers at www.thefeatheredegg.com

Silver Pheasant feathers are perfect for arts and crafts and ours are cruelty-free feathers, even if the Silver Pheasant themselves were kind of predatory.

The Silver Pheasant is, by far, the most uber-cool bird for feathers for arts and crafts.

We raised our flock of pheasant in a way that means these are cruelty-free feathers. But the Silver Pheasant were not of the same philosophy. They hunted our other birds like a pack of raptors, but they did it with stealth.

We didn’t figure out what had happened to our Ringneck Pheasant until much later. We thought a predator had gotten into the pen, and then escaped after the kill.

The Silver Pheasant were the predators. Once we separated them, as we should have done in the first place, they stopped hunted. They didn’t attack each other. They did stalk us though.

The males are white with black markings, and the females are brown on brown. The males have glorious red face armor, and red legs – crowned with enormous spurs. Their chest and belly are clad in black feathers that are actually so iridescent that they flash teal, purple, green, and cobalt in direct sunlight.

When they are about three years old, their wing and tail feathers defy description. White with penciled black markings, no feather quite the same.

Silver Pheasant feathers are primarily available from overseas, and our stock is limited, but we are very proud to be able to offer them.

 

Famous Feathers – A Feather In The Hat For Downton Abbey

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downton Abbey at pbs.org has fantastic feathers

Famous Feathers In Art, Literature, and Film. My series begins with, of course, Downton Abbey season 3 at www.pbs.org

For anyone interested in feathers for arts and crafts, being able to recognize the feathers worn by famous people throughout history is a fun skill.

My blog series about Famous Feathers is designed to do just that. Although most of the historical feathers I will spotlight are probably not cruelty-free feathers, we can hope that modern artists are keeping that in mind as they create new ones.

This series had only just begun – (this is the first post) – when Season 3 of Downtown Abbey provided me with enough gorgeous, astounding, amazing, exciting feather headpieces to keep me going for a year!

Feather headgear in the 1920s and earlier was big business in the United Kingdom. It was not only fashion, it was also politics. Status, influence, public relations… it was huge. And the kind of feather, placement in the hat or bad, height, color, reach… conveyed a language all of its own.

The 1920’s, which is the setting for Downton Abbey’s third season, would be known as the Roaring Twenties in America, but for England, it was a time of change for the aristocracy – wearers of the famous feathers.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 had outlawed some of the feathers that used to be used in making the headpieces, so milliners had to be more creative with the legal feathers. They did this by shaping, dyeing, trimming, and using different parts of the same species over and over again.

We kick it off with the Lady Crawley and her elegantly understated wedding rehearsal hat. A dark cloche with a pinned up brim, secured by a floating froth of tan, beige, to dark brown – whatness? I’m guessing Ostrich floss feathers. The floatiest of frothiest plumiest floss that comes from underneath the wing.

I don’t currently sell ostrich feathers, because the cruelty-free feathers for arts and crafts for sale at www.TheFeatheredEgg.com are from our own flock of humanely-raised pheasant, partridge, quail, chickens, geese, ducks, and turkeys.

But someday, ostrich, emu, rhea!  I do have emu… which is a foreshadowing of the next Famous Feathers post. Who is wearing emu at Downton Abbey?

 

Golden Pheasant Crest Feathers for Arts And Crafts at TheFeatheredEgg.com

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Golden Pheasant Feathers for Sale The Feathered Egg

These Golden Pheasant Feathers for arts and crafts are available over at www.TheFeatheredEgg.com, and they come from our own flock.

Golden Pheasant are one of the ornamental pheasant breeds that we raised in our flock that gave us our cruelty-free feathers for arts and crafts.

Their plumes and feathers are an exceptionally fun resource to use as feathers for crafts.

They are a charming and funny breed. Our two males spent most of their time dashing in front of every hen, no matter what kind of hen, and stopping them in their tracks for a dazzling feather display.

They would display for us as well, they were not exclusive in their attentions.

The Golden Pheasant joins a variety of Red-Gold, Yellow-Gold, and other mixes of this kind of pheasant… and breeders have a challenge sorting out the varieties and keeping them pure. Ours is probably more correctly named a Yellow-Golden Pheasant, but I’m sticking with the generalization of Golden Pheasant

The crest feathers are spectacular. They form a kind of helmet at the back of the Pheasant’s neck. These crest feathers are limited only to the neck, and I have them packaged in two sizes, medium and small. The tips are encrusted with special iridescent clusters of different feather texture, so they are kind of naturally bejeweled.

The bird is native to the forests of China, and it is hard to believe that their vivid coloration is consider camouflage, but they are hard to see in their home habitat.

Golden Pheasant are not difficult to raise and were not dangerous, even during mating season. That is not always the case with Pheasant. The Goldens were funny, gentle, and almost affectionate. But they also needed their hens – they would not have been happy alone or with only other males.

It was as important to be admired for their beautiful feathers as it was to have food and water. We continue to cherish the Golden Pheasant in having their feathers for arts and crafts,

Lady Amherst Pheasant Feathers at www.TheFeatheredEgg.com

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Lady Amherst Pheasant Cruelty Free Feathers

These are the green crest feathers of the male Lady Amherst Pheasant. Our own pheasant, cherished for his whole life, is the source of these cruelty-free pheasant feathers.

The Lady Amherst Pheasant was THE pheasant that inspired me to order a batch of day old pheasant chicks from a hatchery and raise them myself.

The story of that adventure is available at www.TheWestchesterPress.com – and it is kind of hilarious.

When we ordered the chicks, we knew there was no guarantee we would get a Lady Amherst Pheasant, and if we did, it might not be a male.

But we got one. Exactly one. No hen, just this beautiful boy with green on green neck feathers, black edged crest feathers, crimson head feathers, and so much variety, iridescence, shape, and texture that there was no end to the wonder.

Lady Amherst was a British countess who spent some time in India and brought a breeding pair of these pheasant back to England. I saw my first Lady Amherst pheasant in a zoo.

The feathers in the photo are the green neck crest medallion feathers, and my stock is entirely cruelty-free. We cared for our boy throughout his life, and cherish his feathers today. We loved to watch his display behavior and his pride in his feathers.

These feathers are ideal for jewelry. The round end is about the size of a quarter, and the edges flash deep teal and green in bright light. Small to large, they are only found on the pheasant’s neck.

All of the Lady Amherst Pheasant images on www.NaturalFeathers.com and www.TheFeatheredEgg.com are from our one male, who we named, with great creativity, Mr. Lady Amherst Pheasant.

 

Black Feathers Are Not Always Black

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Cruelty-Free Feathers at Natural Feathers

Black Feathers are mysteriously elusive… and symbolic!

I often get requests from feather artists for cruelty-free feathers that are truly black, not blue black, not purple black, but … just… black.

The first time I heard this, I thought “Sure, I have black feathers… no problem!” but then I pawed through my feather inventory and had a hard time finding feathers that were just… black.

Black feathers are often iridescent. Indescribably beautiful. Shimmering teals and greens and turquoise and cobalt and indigo and every kind of purple. But these feather artists didn’t want that. They just wanted black.

And those feathers usually come from the underneath or sides of  the bird, or are secondary feathers in wing or tail. The supporting cast of feathers, not the stars.

It turns out that birds can see into the ultraviolet, and the iridescent feathers send messages, usually love notes. The black feathers have more melanin granules, and are often stronger than lighter-colored feathers. This is why birds have black-edged feathers, the black resists wear and tear longer.

I’m still not sure why the artists want simple black, rather than spectacular black… because they are artists and they do not explain, they create! But the rest of my research indicated that black feathers are considered to be messages… maybe from angels, maybe from ancestors.

And a crow feather in your path is considered a warning. Of what, I don’t know, other than a warning not to pick up that crow feather because keeping crow feathers is illegal… warning from fish and game?

Anyway, black feathers are awesome, and harder to find than I thought they were!

 

Peacock Feathers For Arts And Crafts – Symbols and Facts

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Feather Jewels at The Feathered Egg

These tiny peacock body feathers are ideal for feather jewelry. They are sometimes hard to find, unlike the more common tail fan feathers.

Although I did not raise peacocks in my flock, I knew a woman who did, and kept her birds in the same way I did, resulting in cruelty-free feathers.

Her male peacock had fallen in love with her Rhea, and every year he molted. Every year, I bought his fallen feathers.

In this way, I had plenty of peacock feathers for arts and crafts.

The peacock tail feathers are the best known. The eyes on the feathers can turn away the “evil eye” and can symbolize all-seeing wisdom.

I loved the body feathers, because some of them were miniature versions of the tail feathers, complete with eyes, or with rainbow edges – which I used to make delightful small feather jewels.

The long feathery fronds that run up the edges of the tail feathers are called “herl” and I think they are great for mixed media texture, or grouped together for a different kind of feather jewel.

Peacock feather care is similar to our own hair care, except when blow-drying, it is easy to burn the floaty ends of the feathers, so be careful. They can be lightly soaped, washed, and then if you spread citronella or cedar oil on lightly on your hands, you can groom the feathers back to their natural shape. Clean and protected from bugs.

Peacock feathers are included in the feather sampler collections I have on my site. Gorgeous feathers from happy birds.